Weekly Commentary: Let's Talk After Bennett Handles The Landmines
Dr. Aaron Lerner 13 June 2021
It is pointless to devote thousands of column inches predicting the terrible
things Naftali Bennett will do in betraying the national camp when we only
have to wait a few days to see how Prime Minister Naftali Bennett actually
handles a collection of landmines associated with policy issues which are
near and dear to the national camp.
If he drops the ball I am certain that MK Binyamin Netanyahu will do a
fantastic job rallying together the national camp and Bennett will find
himself setting a new record for the shortest term as prime minister.
I would suggest that the true existential issue which this unusual coalition
government will face will be domestic rather than foreign.
An issue which, by its composition, a national camp government was unable to
Bennett announced various plans to free the economy which, if implemented,
will no doubt help it to take off.
But that would not be enough.
On a micro level the choice of an individual to live in poverty and rely on
the "social safety net" is inconsequential. But when a significant element
in a society makes that choice it can be catastrophic.
This isn't just a question of sustaining the quality of life which we enjoy.
Our very survival requires that we have an advanced economy which makes it
possible for us to have the resources to face both security and diplomatic
For years it has been claimed that conditioning the army service waiver on
full time yeshiva attendance can be blamed for the catastrophically low
labor force participation rate of Haredi men.
PM Bennett today said that his Government is determined to help the Haredis
to be gainfully employed.
His Government is also committed to enable Haredi men who choose not to
serve the country either in army or national service to work on the books
after age 21.
This is going to be tricky as any such arrangement will be challenged in our
Supreme Court on the grounds of inequality.
Will it suffice for the military authorities to report to the court that
they have no need for Haredi conscripts or will it be necessary to
officially give Haredi men the same security status as Israeli Arabs (that
while volunteers to the IDF are welcome that conscripts could represent a
Will this be enough or will it be necessary for the Government to revise
elements of the "social safety net" such that various discounts for poor
families be conditioned on being working poor families?
Yes, it is going to be interesting.
In a short time we will know if Prime Minister Bennett can handle the
Here is hoping that he can.
Because the agenda Mr. Bennett presented today is crucial for our very
future and if Bennett can't handle the landmines we will find ourselves in a
maelstrom which will make it impossible to advance the changes we so
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